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Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Myth of Sides

"I'll Take Everything on My Side"...

DJ Howard's tip this week is about court coverage and communication. These are two topics that have been discussed a lot here but a new perspective is always welcome.

Myth - "I have my side, you have your side."

There are two sides of the court, but that does not mean each player ought to cover precisely one half of the court. On the contrary, all things being equal, there ought to be overlap over the center by each player. Since all things are NOT equal, each player's positions should shift left or right along with the location of the ball on the other side of the net, meaning the center line is no longer the middle of the two players. The middle of a doubles team is NOT the center line most of the time.

Ever watch a pro mixed doubles match? The guy typically will straddle the center line when the teams get into a dink exchange. The players certainly don't stick to "my own side".

Since there is no "my side, your side," it should be communicated verbally AND non-verbally as to how much of the court each player should cover. (Additionally, poaching is a legit option if the poaching player has a good opportunity to hurt the opponent. But that is for another post.)

I am not advocating jumping in front of your teammate to take shots away from that player. However, a player that takes initiative on an "in between" type of ball ought to be the player who takes the shot (within reason) even if it means overlapping the center of the court.

This week, practice taking initiative and be assertive. If you overlap the center line, so be it. Most importantly, communicate with your teammate about your boundaries so you understand who takes what and you'll alleviate many concerns regarding who takes what ball.

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